by Jonathan Franzen | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0007532768 Global Overview for this book
Registered by erinacea of Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on 11/22/2015
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by erinacea from Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on Sunday, November 22, 2015
I'll be honest. I never would have read this book if I hadn't gotten it for my birthday this year (not my themes, genre, or writing style). Even so, I probably still wouldn't have finished the book if I hadn't come down with sinusitis which, once the pain let up, left me in terrible boredom.

I liked Pip well enough but the entire Sunshine Project was so alien to me, it was hard for me to see the appeal. Also, Andreas is a real creep. (Major spoilers! highlight to make visible I'm not talking about the murder, there were extenuating circumstances) I'm actually a bit weirded out by all the people Pip encounters... except for Tom and Leila - I liked both of them. The way I see it both Anabel and Andreas are mentally ill or at least extremely narcisstic (as is Andreas' mom).

The book was a bit of a slow read. Especially the beginning was hard to get into. Once more people entered the picture (from the second chapter), I kept going because I wanted to find out how they were connected (and because I was glad about the distraction). The last chapter was probably my most favourite, which frankly still isn't saying much but at least the loose ties finally got connected and I liked that Pip managed to find some modicum of happiness independently from her mother.

I'm also unreasonably bothered by having so many characters' names start with An-. I kept mixing up Anabel and Annagret. I feel like there might have been some intentional symbolism between the two women (Tom's and Andreas' objects of desire) but this seems a bit farfetched. Psychologically speaking, Annagret appears to symbolise both the "saint" and "whore" (victim) roles of womanhood, whereas Annabel is something of her "evil" counterpart, the "vamp"/"temptress" stringing her poor bewitched admirer along. I loathed her (not least because of the way she used emotional blackmail on her daughter) but I also have little respect for Tom for not having the guts/strength to leave. (It's Leila I feel sorry for. I mean she always knew he still had feelings for his ex but wow... that must be hard.)

My main problem with the book, though, is the premise or core idea, which as far as I understand it is that the internet as a whole (rather than specific companies making use of it) is similar to the GDR surveillance society. Some sort of Stasi 2.0.

I've really tried to follow this theory, but I just can't see it at all. Now I feel this is not for lack of education. Having grown up in eastern Germany (though I was too young to take notice of any political aspects) and subsequently receiving secondary school education, I do have some knowledge about the Stasi and the Turn. Of course there are some aspects that are similar from the perspective of someone being under observation, but that's more a consequence of the usefulness of data for either political or monetary gain. However, I don't agree that the systems are at all similar.
As far as I remember, this was Andreas' pet theory in the book and no-one else ever thought about this, but with Andreas' GDR background taking up so much time in the book it certainly seems like this is main theme of the book as a whole. (It's also what the blurb and most reviews comment on. Still disagree.)

Journal Entry 2 by erinacea at Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on Sunday, July 10, 2016

Released 4 yrs ago (7/10/2016 UTC) at Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany


Taken along to today's brunch meetup in the "Turnhalle", hoping that there'd be some readers of English books. I think someone took it home, but I'm not entirely sure.


You've found a wandering book! Please leave a short (or not so short ;) ) journal entry, so I know that the book's well and safe in your hands. For example, you could write where you found it, how you like it, or what you are planning to do with it.

Thanks a lot!

PS: While I enjoy writing these texts in English, there's no obligation for you to do the same. If you like, you could make an entry in German, or whatever your mothertongue may be.
(Einträge auf deutsch sind auch erlaubt. ;) )

Journal Entry 3 by Schuttberg at Friedrichshain, Berlin Germany on Friday, August 12, 2016
Danke ich werde es bald mal angehen. Thank Your for the book review.

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